UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is once again presented with a line of hungry contenders, after returning from another year off competition. He beat Gilbert Melendez at UFC 181, and now has a UFC 185 booking against Rafael Dos Anjos to look forward to. Due to injury, top lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov is inactive, but has taken every opportunity to slate “Showtime”.
Easy win, how Nurmagomedov often refers to Pettis, seems to have gotten under the champion’s skin. Speaking with MMAJunkie.com, “Showtime” says that “The Eagle” is too annoying to think about right now:
“He is definitely annoying, He’s going to have to wait his turn,” Pettis said. “I’m going to take these fights one at a time. If I look at this division as a whole, I’ll never sleep. There’s so many killers out there. I’ve got to focus on what’s next, and that’s it. I feel like his striking is like an amateur level,” Pettis said. “He only gets by on his wrestling. He thinks his striking is going to be good enough to survive against me, take me down and grind me out for 25 minutes? He’s never done that. He’s never fought a main event for 25 minutes.”
“Anybody can wrestle for 15 minutes, but it’s different when you’re fighting for the title. At the same time, his striking is amateur compared to where my wrestling us. My wrestling is on a way higher level than his striking if you want to compare the two.”
What’s next is red hot Brazilian grappler-turned striker RDA, as he continues to dominate top competition in the division. Pettis continued:
“Dos Anjos is the only guy that beat both Ben Henderson and Donald Cerrone other than me, so I think he definitely has the skillset,” Pettis said. “He’s definitely flown under the radar, but I don’t know why. He’s a very good fighter. He dominated Nate Diaz. I don’t know why guys fly the radar like that.
“Maybe he doesn’t talk enough, but he definitely has skillset that is deserving of fighting for the title. That’s why I’m excited. He’s not going to just try and wrestle me. He’s going to try to go out and finish me, and that only makes me better. He’s going to go out there and try to knock me out, and I’m going try to knock him out.”
It may not be the wisest choice for Dos Anjos to try and stand with the champion, as Pettis owns some of the most clinical and dangerous striking in the game. You could argue that RDA would have the best chance on the mat, as he has excellent grappling and enough defense to potentially survive in the champ’s guard the whole fight.
With Khabib Nurmagomedov arguably next, do you think the champ Anthony Pettis will get through Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 185?